There is exactly two years and one month, down to the very date, between my two children. I always wanted a small age gap between them as there is just a year and a half between myself and my sister and we had such a wonderful childhood. When we didn’t quite get the two under two that we had planned, I always joked that we were so close we would reap the benifits of two kids close in age but miss out on all the troubles you hear two under two brings with it. This might not have been entirely true all the time but things are pretty wonderful and hey if nothing else at least they have the same birth date, one less thing for me to forget!
One thing that nobody tells you when you have children close in age though, is just how hard it will be buying presents for them! It might seem like a silly insignificant thing but as I am constantly racked with Mum guilt especially in regards giving my daughter all the opportunities her older brother had as a baby, and it was weighing pretty heavy on me when I could not think of one single thing to give Faye for her first birthday. After many many MANY hours spent looking online and visiting toy shops (this is not as fun as you would expect with a toddler and baby and no intention of buying big brother a toy each visit) I was actually able to get Faye a really cool collection of gifts for her first birthday so thought I would share with you. As she has most of the standard baby toys as hand me downs from Aiden, this list is items that I found that were either something special just for her or toys that she would be able to play with her big brother with and both enjoy. Do you have siblings close in age? What did you get your youngest for their first birthday?
Lottie Dolls and Accessories (£9.99 – £21.99)
When I was a kid Barbie’s were so so popular, everyone had to have one or ten. I had a few but only some second-hand and older ones that were less sexualised/dressed in clothes my Mum had adjusted. I had no idea as a kid but my parents absolutely hated the way Barbie’s looked and how they portrayed the female image. As a Mum now myself to both a girl AND a boy, I understand just why my parents took issue with the bodies these dolls had, the style of clothes they wore and the professions, (who am I kidding, the hobbies) they had accessories for. I lamented the loss of these types of dolls in my kids lives as I had enjoyed playing with mine but I was resolute not to feed into the warped body imagery we see everywhere. Hurray then for Lottie Dolls which have come along just in time!
I had read articles about a lady in New Zealand up-cycling dolls to make them look like children rather than the unrealistic grown-ups they depict, but this was just one lady and her dolls were like gold dust to come by so I had lost hope. You can imagine how delighted I was then only a few weeks ago when I discover the company that make Lottie Dolls are based right here in the UK and they not only make a doll that looks like a normal eight year old but they make a whole range of them with different hair colours/styles AND a whole wonderful assortment of truly inspirational and fun outfits. At this point I am already actually bouncing as I discovered they also make a boy doll. Well I just about bumped my head on the ceiling!
Lottie kindly sent both Faye and Aiden a doll of their own and some fantastic accessories to go with them. I picked ones such as the football kit that could easily go on either the girl or boy doll as Aiden recently had started telling us things like women can’t be firefighters because he had never seen one in any of his books or shows. Obviously I can and do explain that that simply isn’t true but these dolls have been fantastic at illustrating the point (Lottie if you are reading this we would love you to design some emergency service outfits in your next lot. Thanks!) The dolls are of a great high quality as are their outfits and I can tell that we will be buying more accessories for both Faye and Aiden’s doll as they have been a hit with both.
I am so excited to tell you all that the lovely people at Lottie were so happy to hear how much Faye and Aiden loved their dolls that they are giving our readers the chance to win their very own Stargazer Lottie doll just like Faye has. All you have to do to enter is pop over to the Rafflecopter competition site here and enter as many entries as possible for the highest chance of winning this fantastic doll.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Magformers My First Play 32 Set (£55)
One of my favourite type of toys for children to play with are versatile ones that promote open ended play and magnetic tiles are just that. I have been considering getting some for a long time now but knew there were both high and low quality products and that the one’s that looked better quality were also pretty expense so I put it off until Faye’s birthday. Now I can tell you I am very glad we went with the more expensive and higher quality make of Magformers because these things are absolutely fantastic.
Both Faye and Aiden are crazy about them. The bright colours are so attractive and Faye loves putting them together and snapping them apart. Aiden took to the two books that come with this starter kit like something else. Once I explained how each page is setting you little challenges of things to build, well he was away. He loves seeing how the shapes put together can make a completely different shape and to name the shapes that make up the animals in the book. I think we will be needing to grow our hollering as Aiden wants to build bigger and bigger structures and Faye seems hell bent on tearing them down! They are also absolutely perfect for playing in this glorious Summer sun with as you won’t loose or break them easy.
Grimms Rainbow Stacker (£26)
I love wooden toys. They last longer, look great out on display, and are very tactile for kids. Aiden has a lot of wooden toys but no Grimms ones and no rainbow so after I saw him playing with one when we were out and about, I knew it would be a fun toy for opened ended play for both Aiden and Faye. Faye loves taking the rainbow apart and rebuilding it. Aiden was initially sceptical of using it for anything other than a rainbow but now uses the biggest arch as a goal for his Lottie doll to play football. These are an expensive item and whilst they are good quality, I think I’ll be trying to hunt down some cheaper second-hand ones if I want to expand the collection.
Hetty Sit n Ride (rrp £19.99)
This one was a bit of a chance buy. We weren’t actually looking for a ride-on as there is an old car one of Aiden’s in the garden so it hadn’t crossed my mind to buy Faye her own. However we were in a local kids charity shop called Kidzecho and Aiden was asking what he was getting Faye for her birthday so I said he could pick a toy for her and what do you know, he picked Hetty and home with us she came for the fab price of £4.99. She is really stable compared to other ride-ons I have seen, near enough impossible to tip infact. She is made of great quality plastic and no stickers so is long lasting (our other one is very faded hence being banished to the garden). She maybe doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as some others I have seen do, teaching you the alphabet and 12 languages etc but she does what she is supposed to and does it well. There is a lift up lid for a compartment under the seat to carry bits and bobs and Faye is loving hiding toys and moving them across the room on Hetty. I think Aiden picked pretty well!
Fisher Price Beatbo (rrp £39.99)
You see Beatbo EVERYWHERE! He wasn’t around when Aiden was a baby but since his launch he seems to be THE go to toy for babies. We know Fisher Price are a good quality toy maker but I wasn’t sure what to expect from this all singing all dancing robot. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t comfortable spending forty quid on a toy I wasn’t sure wouldn’t just be a gimmick and put to the side. Lyckily as there are so many of them in circulation, there are also plenty of them to be got second-hand. We picked ours up of Gumtree for £10 and I am so glad we did. Both Faye and Aiden dance along and wriggle about as Beatbo does. Aiden has figured out how to record his voice so Beatbo sings back “Faye smells” (charming I know!) and both kids giggle a lot when they play togher with him. He is great for encouraging movement and so far is proving to keep their attention.
Wow Toys Pippa’s Princess Carriage (rrp £19.99)
I stumbled across Wow toys by accident when a friend got Aiden a set when he was One. I was absolutely over the moon to discover that they didn’t require batteries as we had been going through them at an insane rate. Just like all the other Wow toys we have, I was impressed with the attention to detail in the Princess Pippa design, they do not look cheap and have lots of secret little features to keep the kids entertained and imagination alive. The quality of plastic is always also fantastic as it is very hard wearing. It would be hard to break a Wow toy and as the plastic is dyed rather than painted on, the designs don’t really fade or get chipped. A very cute fairy tale toy and one I know will make it through lots of playing which is a big thumbs up for us.
Kid’s (and adults for that matter) can never ever ever have too many books. Never. Honestly, I could buy my two a book every single day and they would love it and not be disappointed that it was a book. Libraries are a wonderful thing to keep up with their thirst for knowledge (and to give you a bit more space at home!) but you really can’t beat having a great collection of your own books at home to treasure. We have so so many favourites that I could write a series of posts on them (and might very well do so keep and eye out for those) but for now I will just say, buy them a book(s) any chance you have. You won’t regret it. And if you are looking for some excellent children’s books that frequently have great deals on, I would suggest visiting Book and Pieces who have a 3 for £10 section (featuring all the Julia Donaldson books which are a firm favourite in this household, amongst other greats)
Also my readers can currently get 10% off all purchases from the Books and Pieces website by adding discount code ONEOFEACH10 at the checkout! Go stock up on books! You will always use them 🙂
Nici Soft Toy Butterfly (£15 approx)
I bought this at the airport when trying to get rid of my remaining Euros so I don’t remember how much it cost. Oops. Nici toys are always good quality although a touch on the expensive side so I know this wasn’t cheap but more a special toy. The ‘hat’ part becomes a cocoon too which Aiden has had lots of fun showing Faye. Both my kids enjoy cuddling up to soft toys so whilst I don’t want a house full of them I do get them special ones on occasion and they always love them.
Tomy Eggs (rrp £6.99)
I had seen these at every playgroup and play date we have been too and yet we hadn’t played with them until visiting a friend recently. Both my 1 year old AND my 3 year old were fascinated by them so I knew they would be a hit for Faye’s birthday. The base of each egg is a different shape that corresponds to the same shaped hole in the container. The eggs are also different colours which you can match up to their shells and they squeak when you press the inside of them. They are simple and durable and perfect for so many games.
ELC Fairy Garden (rrp £50)
This was another second-hand bargain I got off a Facebook selling page for a fiver! It might be designed for an older child but I couldn’t let a bargain like that go! Plus with no tiny parts it is actually safe for a wee one and once I added some Happy Land fairy figures, Faye was thrilled to make them stomp through fairy land knocking everything down over and over again. It is a slightly different take on a dolls house but the same principles apply and I imagine it will be great for imaginative role playing when Faye is a bit older. For now though, it will look great in her forest fairy themed bedroom when I do her room up and I have been having a LOT of fun setting it up every time Faye demolishes it!
Disclosure: We received some of these items for the purpose of review but all opinions are mine and truthful. Also they are all things that were always going to be on our list 🙂
Giveaway disclosure: All email addresses collected as part of the giveaway entry requirements will be passed to Lottie but they will not pass them on to any third party.